Definition of answer in English:


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  • 1A thing said, written, or done to deal with or as a reaction to a question, statement, or situation.

    ‘he knocked and entered without waiting for an answer’
    • ‘How can these people give anything but the expected answers in such situations?’
    • ‘The short answer is that this situation really has nothing to do with you.’
    • ‘He was unprepared and without an answer, and the situation suddenly seemed awkward.’
    • ‘Consider the truth of the statement: if the answer is yes, then how do you feel about it.’
    • ‘He disclosed that the matter had been forwarded to the Labour Courts, notifying it of the workers' situation and answers are expected soon.’
    • ‘Basically, there are several situations and the answer would vary in each case.’
    • ‘We have to research these questions and not give flippant answers.’
    • ‘I was a little confused because his statements weren't really answers, but more like walks around an answer, like a politician would do.’
    • ‘So I scurried up to my office, got the transcript of the questions and answers, came back to the House, and took a point of order.’
    • ‘The ambulance came and took him away, asking questions, getting no answers in return.’
    • ‘He gave a flippant answer saying I should thank my lucky stars he had not billed me for it earlier.’
    • ‘Voltaire's answer was a classic statement of the atheist position.’
    • ‘This is not a situation where a single answer is going to be completely correct.’
    • ‘What's more interesting is the questions my friends ask and their reactions to the answers.’
    • ‘When you get an answer, acknowledge it before asking additional probing questions.’
    • ‘She skated across the rink and came back next to me waiting for an answer.’
    • ‘Janice was always asking too many questions while never waiting for an answer.’
    • ‘We will never know, since pollsters, like trial lawyers, always avoid questions whose answers might prove embarrassing or unforeseen.’
    • ‘Those are all questions deserving honest answers.’
    • ‘It's more that I found myself asking the same questions, hearing the same answers and writing the same stories.’
    reply, response, rejoinder, return, reaction
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1A thing written or said in reaction to a question in a test or quiz.
      ‘write your answers on a postcard’
      • ‘Just answer the following question and write your answer on a postcard.’
      • ‘She wrote ridiculous answers on a history test so she would get an F.’
      • ‘Dyslexic people get more time, as they find it more difficult to read the question and write the answer.’
      • ‘The students took the test, writing down the answers with feather pens as best as they could.’
      • ‘To make sure that the team was on the right track, and prevent people taking unauthorised short cuts, there were simple questions for which the team had to write down short answers.’
      • ‘And this becomes your work for the rest of the year - to go over and over those three questions until the pupils could write the answers in their sleep.’
      • ‘Each kid is asked the same three questions, and they write their answers down.’
      • ‘She peered at the test and hurriedly wrote down the answers as the bell rang for her to go to lunch.’
      • ‘As their teacher rattled off numbers in Chinese, the duo listened, picked up their markers, wrote identical answers on whiteboards and held it up for the audience to see!’
      • ‘You can write down the answers on a separate sheet or you can call in to the Sligo Weekender offices and pick up a special entry form.’
      • ‘They have already, we note, calmly written their answer down some time before.’
      • ‘You do not need to write out the answers, just do it using your mind.’
      • ‘You'll need a pen, to write down your answers, and at the end we'll tally up and see whether you've got em right or not.’
      • ‘Constructed-response questions required the students to provide written responses explaining their answers.’
      • ‘I eventually resorted to writing down the answers in Japanese.’
      • ‘Sitting in Chemistry, Rachel beside me was working on our practical essay, and I was writing down the answers.’
      • ‘Anyway, when it came to the essay segments, I wrote my answers like a 4th grader.’
      • ‘Finally, after writing her last answer, she put her pencil down and massaged her temples.’
      • ‘In terms of being concise, plan your answer, write down key issues and words and build sentences and paragraphs around those.’
      • ‘Ponder each question and take your answers seriously.’
    2. 1.2The correct solution to a question in a test or quiz.
      ‘the answer is 280°’
      • ‘I loved the extra cross references, summaries, and test questions complete with the correct answers.’
      • ‘This test gives you the correct answers after each question and teaches the tricks for answering smarter on the next test!’
      • ‘Players are then tasked to pick the correct answer from a list of four potential solutions.’
      • ‘With only a handful of correct answers received for last week's quiz, there is still no third place winner.’
      • ‘Fortunately, Egg gives you the correct answers at the end of the test along with some pointers about which aspects of knowledge you need to mug up on.’
      • ‘We got close to 70 correct answers in fifteen minutes.’
      • ‘He still came up with an impressive 7 correct answers.’
      • ‘The winning team managed to get a whopping 96 out of hundred correct answers and they won two All-Ireland tickets for their endeavours.’
      • ‘The ex-Army major, 41, of High Street, Easterton, used coughs from an accomplice to steer him to the correct answers.’
      • ‘The audience loved the questions thrown open to them and many students and also some parents walked away with the prizes for the correct answers.’
      • ‘But before we get onto the winners, here are the correct answers.’
      • ‘I'll publish the correct answers when we resurface from under a pile of boxes.’
      • ‘Back in the famous Quiz Show Scandals, the horrifying revelation was that certain contestants had been given the questions and the answers in advance.’
      • ‘Maybe I don't have any answers, just questions.’
      • ‘The teacher writes questions and answers on the blackboard - or the newer green, or white boards, and the students copy them down dutifully.’
      • ‘Thanks to Maura for her questions and answers and the next quiz will be set by Therese Mc Kernan.’
      • ‘All I needed was the answer to number thirty but she was selfish and didn't give me the answer.’
      • ‘I remembered to put in the answer to last weeks puzzle but now I can't remember what the answer is!’
      • ‘You have until lunchtime (UK time) on Christmas Eve, at which point I will reveal the answers, with accompanying explanations.’
      • ‘The answer to #2 is perhaps only obvious when you actually know the answer!’
      solution, explanation, resolution
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3A solution to a problem or dilemma.
      ‘the answer to poverty and unemployment is a properly funded range of services’
      • ‘The smallpox dilemma has no simple answers, and making the correct decision may, literally, be a matter of life and death.’
      • ‘I wish I could conclude this column with a conclusion, but there are no easy answers or solutions.’
      • ‘There are no miracle solutions, no magical answers, no easy everybody-wins way out.’
      • ‘Depression is a very complex topic, which affords no easy answers or solutions.’
      • ‘Soft power is neither the problem nor the answer; the real solution is to get the policy right.’
      • ‘There are no all-encompassing answers, only local solutions, compromises, and on-going negotiations.’
      • ‘Of course, satire is not about finding answers or solutions.’
      • ‘This has to be handled VERY delicately, and there are no easy answers or obvious solutions.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, this theme does not carry the weight that it purports to carry, providing no resolution and no answers.’
      • ‘Departments with high rates of attrition among graduate students need to look to their own practices for answers and solutions.’
      • ‘But this is a situation with no easy answers, and there are real limits on what even a country as powerful as the United States can do about it.’
      • ‘It is not a situation which permits easy answers in the short term.’
      • ‘Again, somewhat like global expansion, there are no simple answers and the situation is changing with enormous speed.’
      • ‘If your sincerest desire is to avoid hurting anybody's feelings, the answer is never to write or say anything controversial.’
      • ‘If your inner geek needs a lift, International Rocket Week may be the answer, writes Rachel Devine’
      • ‘The current situation poses many questions and few easy answers.’
      • ‘In all other situations the answer may well be for couples to file for divorce.’
      • ‘You can understand why alcohol can often seem like the best answer in such situations.’
      • ‘The geriatric care manager must understand the people he or she is working with, what their values are, and come to each situation with no prescribed answers.’
      • ‘There may, of course, be situations where the answer may not be obvious and alternatives may have to be tried.’
      solution, remedy, way of solving the problem, way out
      View synonyms
    4. 1.4answer toin singular A thing or person that imitates or fulfills the same role as something or someone else.
      ‘the press called her Britain's answer to Marilyn Monroe’
      • ‘The film has an amazing amount of high gloss energy, and it feels like an early '80s answer to A Hard Day's Night.’
      • ‘Like the French Canadian answer to Sesame Street, Caillou intersperses animated stories with puppet shows and live-action shots of dancing kids.’
      • ‘To me he is the British answer to Chekhov.’
      counterpart, parallel, alternative, match, complement, analogue, double, twin, opposite number
      View synonyms
    5. 1.5Law The defendant's reply to the plaintiff's charges.
      ‘Every day, proof of the collision is held to be sufficient to call on the two defendants for an answer.’
      • ‘Well, it means that the defendant to the suit is called on to make answer.’



/ˈansər/ /ˈænsər/


  • 1reporting verb Say or write something to deal with or as a reaction to someone or something.

    with direct speech ‘“Of course I can,” she answered’
    • ‘she answered that she would take nothing but the ring’
    • ‘she tried to answer his questions truthfully’
    • ‘Steve was about to answer, but Hazel spoke first’
    • ‘I didn't answer him’
    • ‘When nobody answered, he wrote on the board ‘unfair treatment’.’
    • ‘‘Well, Jason, it seems as if Miss Anders was one of the apartment owners,’ he answered, writing my name down on the pad of paper.’
    • ‘That was a bit funny, and it was interesting to see people's reactions when she answered all the questions that were being thrown at her.’
    • ‘She answered in a fluently written letter about the death of her husband.’
    • ‘When asked why it didn't the company answered that it wrote to as many passengers as possible suggesting that they apply for a refund.’
    • ‘I answered all who wrote to me and felt deeply humbled by their stories.’
    • ‘We know that this Minister answered in writing - with the answer as at April - and now he refuses to give that answer to the House.’
    • ‘Remember when we had to write an essay, answering that question-would you rather be blind or deaf?’
    • ‘On the first few occasions, I had truthfully answered no.’
    • ‘I answered truthfully, and was not made to feel guilty at all.’
    • ‘And once you can answer that truthfully to yourself, the rest is easy.’
    • ‘It is strange and paradoxical how our main problem has ended up being how to answer so many correspondences.’
    • ‘One of them is where I will drag and drop correspondence that I cannot answer right away.’
    • ‘She answers e-mails and writes a chatty, informative diary.’
    • ‘‘I don't know,’ I answered truthfully, and the uncertainty changed to confusion.’
    • ‘I hoped for some reaction but instead she answered, ‘That's good,’ and pointed at my paper.’
    • ‘I do have a tremendous correspondence, and I answer all the letters as soon as I can.’
    • ‘I blithely answered, ‘No, I plan to write two filmscripts and a novel.’’
    • ‘I've still got a pile of e-mails to answer, a report to write, and a Master's course to work on.’
    • ‘At the meeting the Chairman (a director) presents a Statement of Affairs and answers questions regarding the company's affairs.’
    reply, respond, say in response, speak in response, make a rejoinder, rejoin
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1with object Provide the required responses to (a test or quiz)
      ‘answer the questions below for a chance to win a vacation’
      • ‘As well as being a fascinating read, it is also a fantastic source of general knowledge and a great help in answering quiz questions and solving crossword puzzles.’
      • ‘Many arrested serial killers took part in the test and answered the question correctly.’
      • ‘I got exempted from a quiz just for answering a question and then in math, we were going to have a chapter test, but the teacher told us that she thought we were all ready to move on.’
      • ‘Reading through the test, he answered each question in his head.’
      • ‘There is no harm, however, in being able to adapt parts of these answers to particular questions providing you are answering the question.’
      • ‘However, it is not clear why we found no evidence of response bias in answering multiple-choice questions as Walker et al. did.’
      • ‘An equally serious problem could arise if children had a prepotent response bias for answering multiple choice questions.’
      • ‘All you have to do is answer the question below, indicating which game you would like to see.’
      • ‘I answered the question later in the essay.’
      • ‘Test your knowledge about farm safety by answering the following questions.’
      • ‘Such an strategy might work well for testing a thesis or answering a set of questions.’
      • ‘He was playing with them and answering the simple quiz questions that the girls are asking.’
      • ‘Such exploration may be accomplished through a homework assignment in which both partners or an entire family answers the questions below.’
      • ‘If you are interested in answering the questions or in providing feedback on them, please go over to the 20 Questions blog I set up for that purpose.’
      • ‘Its Colouring Book link has small pictures of the flags useful for answering the questions in this Quiz.’
      • ‘I'm not going to credit the site I got this quiz from until all the questions are answered.’
      • ‘Sample sizes varied across the questions tested, since all firms did not answer every question.’
      • ‘Then he underwent a personality test where he had to answer questions about what was most like him and least like him.’
      • ‘Sometimes, we place people who are interviewed or who complete a questionnaire in the position of informants rather than as respondents answering questions about themselves.’
  • 2with object Act in reaction to (a sound such as a phone ringing or a knock or ring on a door)

    ‘David answered the door’
    • ‘she called Edward's house, hoping he would answer’
    • ‘Over the two weeks, she will answer knocks to her door and allow people to handle the relic and pray in her house.’
    • ‘I knocked and knocked, and nobody answered the door.’
    • ‘He rang the bell, waiting only seconds before the housekeeper answered the door.’
    • ‘Our friend took himself along to the address and, in truth, he didn't have to ask questions when the woman of the house answered his front door knock.’
    • ‘After ringing and knocking for some time Sid finally answered the door.’
    • ‘One word of advice suggests that if a householder answers a knock at their front door, they should first ensure that the back door is locked.’
    • ‘He has not been returning calls or answering my knocks on his door.’
    • ‘The 83-year-old man answered a knock at the door of the house in Bag Lane, Atherton, without putting the security chain on because he thought it was a taxi they had ordered.’
    • ‘The victim's five-year-old son answered a knock at the front door to a man who asked him to get his daddy, said police.’
    • ‘Caroline seemed genuinely pleased to see him when she answered a knock on her back door.’
    • ‘A little old lady answers a knock at the door where she's accosted by a vacuum cleaner salesman.’
    • ‘Hope answered the door, her face grim when she saw him.’
    • ‘She answered the knock, peering through a crack in the door.’
    • ‘A few minutes later, the larger of the suspects answered a polite knock on the door.’
    • ‘She giggled, getting up to answer the patient knock at the door.’
    • ‘As she answered the front door she saw her son had opened her bedroom window and was leaning out for a closer look.’
    • ‘He then heard his bell ring several times but didn't answer the door.’
    • ‘When we rang the doorbell, Maggie answered the door.’
    • ‘She answered the door before I could ring the doorbell.’
    • ‘She recovered from shock and answered the cell phone.’
  • 3with object Defend oneself against (a charge, accusation, or criticism)

    ‘he said he would return to Spain to answer all charges’
    • ‘He was hauled before the Board of Control to answer charges over his behaviour.’
    • ‘A warrant for his arrest was issued yesterday after he failed to attend court on Friday to answer a new charge of shoplifting.’
    • ‘He was found to be unfit to answer charges because he was suffering from a brain-wasting disease.’
    • ‘To pile stupidity on stupidity, none of the three bothered to turn up to answer the charge against them.’
    • ‘Fifteen Cardiff supporters appeared in court this week to answer charges of hooliganism.’
    • ‘If you've got the evidence, put it into the process and let the people answer the charges - it's only natural justice.’
    • ‘But before he left to return to his Pembury estate, he delivered a letter to Elizabeth, answering her charges.’
    • ‘In this paper, I choose to answer the charge that I do not have an iota of proof.’
    • ‘He summoned him before the royal court to answer trumped-up charges.’
    • ‘He summoned Luther to Rome to answer charges of heresy and rebelling against church authority.’
    • ‘My sister pointed out if she had made her horse wait 18 months she would have found herself in front of a judge, answering charges of cruelty to animals, and rightfully so.’
    • ‘He was adept at answering simplistic criticism with simplistic retorts.’
    • ‘‘At his trial, Ian was prevented by his deafness from answering the accusations against him,’ said Elspeth.’
    • ‘As such, he is qualified to discuss the state of the industry and answer some criticisms.’
    • ‘In the second week of August the government was obliged to answer accusations of negligence and indifference.’
    • ‘It will be his first chance to publicly answer the criticisms that have been levelled against him.’
    • ‘Problems and setbacks had to be ridden out, attacks had to be answered, criticisms had to be parried, and Ministers had to be appeased and cajoled.’
    • ‘In his Biographical Memoir he has ably answered the criticisms of his character.’
    • ‘There is also that famous quote from Peter Cook answering the accusation that the 1960s satire boom was damaging to society.’
    • ‘He would simply decline to refute the evidence presented or answer in any way the charges against him.’
    • ‘Marius Wilson has not been served legal documents to answer the case against him in court’
    rebut, refute, defend oneself against
    View synonyms
  • 4with object Be suitable for fulfilling (a need); satisfy.

    ‘entrepreneurship is necessary to answer the needs of national and international markets’
    • ‘nothing short of that would answer’
    • ‘Freight transport by inland waterways is particularly suitable to answer Russia's needs.’
    • ‘It answers their need for an excuse to go straight, while not at the same time surrendering to the morality of a society they believe has wronged them deeply.’
    • ‘Literary translation, especially of the great works of the past, never answers a pressing need, nor is it a competitive activity.’
    • ‘He believes the magazine is popular because it answers the needs of local readers.’
    • ‘But the burden of answering the needs of some 500 families in Blackburn and Darwen, and many more across East Lancashire, has put the family on the bread line.’
    • ‘Now that's sensible, answering a distinct need.’
    • ‘The response centre operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to answer any need.’
    • ‘It has been established to answer a national need for more doctors and will take 130 students a year.’
    • ‘Litigation answers a deep need in all of us for justice.’
    • ‘The technology answers the needs of ever-changing political platforms and campaigns.’
    • ‘Of much more importance to a business owner is whether the replacement answers the needs of his business.’
    • ‘Governments for the most part, even progressing democracies, are currently reacting as oppressors rather than public servants answering the needs of the people.’
    • ‘So we've answered the need for computing 24 hours a day.’
    • ‘Yet it is as equally true to say that, in his later career, he answered a need created by a dangerous imbalance in the structure of the Stuart state.’
    • ‘Period rooms evolved gradually to answer the changing needs of the family.’
    • ‘It is possible that no single model will ever answer the clinical needs of all families.’
    • ‘The new park, established by presidential decree three years ago, answers a need for conservation areas.’
    • ‘Indeed, throughout most of history, these crude forms of fuel answered the world's energy needs.’
    • ‘They are answering the demand with products streamlined for the male consumer.’
    • ‘Dr Lennon said the project would answer the demand for elderly housing and care in the Newport area for the next number of years.’
    satisfy, meet, fulfil, fill, serve, suit, measure up to, match up to
    View synonyms



/ˈansər/ /ˈænsər/


    answer the description of
    • Correspond to a description, especially one of a suspect issued by the police.

      ‘he answers the description of being slightly taller than his two supposed companions’
      • ‘I have a number of documents in my possession which answer the description of the documents described in the subpoena.’
      • ‘Yes, but is there any finding at any stage that, as a matter of general law, Mr Downes' client answered the description of a person who had ‘the right to decide the possession, disposition and use of the vessel’ owned by her husband?’
      • ‘One can postulate that a person who is born here, has lived here all their life, has parents who are citizens, may well be a person who could not possibly answer the description of an alien.’
      • ‘Beat officers were alerted, and asked to look out for any car answering the description of the one in the area at the times reported.’
      • ‘He answers the description of the murder suspect.’
    answer to the name of
    often humorous
    • Be called.

      ‘a missing gent answering to the name of Bloom’
      • ‘The owner's children were distraught, as they had travelled as far as Wexford in search of their pet that answers to the name of Prince.’
      • ‘He answers to the name of Sam and was last seen on Sunday, September 22 in the Borris Road area.’
      • ‘The parrot, which is still missing, has red tail feathers and a blue plastic ring on his foot and answers to the name of Monty.’
      • ‘He is grey with a white nose and paws and was wearing a white collar, he answers to the name of Socks.’
      • ‘Four years later she has left newspapers, written two novels and only answers to the name of Lennox.’
      • ‘A nine-month-old black and white collie answering to the name of Muffy has gone missing.’
      • ‘There are children in London's better-to-do nurseries who answer to the name of Maximus.’
      • ‘Appropriately enough, the victory came from the man who answers to the name of Craig Victory.’
      • ‘And not just Melissa but with a tall other guy who answered to the name of Greg.’
      • ‘I've seen him and besides, there aren't many people answering to the name Quill.’
    have all the answers
    • Be confident in one's knowledge of something, typically unjustifiably so.

      • ‘it was his air of knowing all the answers that riled Mrs. Farrar’
      • ‘Her article is more in the nature of sharing her problems and frustrations in trying to understand the complexities of rural poverty rather than an assertion that she knows all the answers.’
      • ‘Obviously there are going to be people who know all the answers and others who don't know anything.’
      • ‘Doctors are just as much in the dark as parents and often less wise because they think they know all the answers.’
      • ‘He doesn't know all the answers but says: ‘There are some things I've found helpful’.’
      • ‘When I was young I thought I knew all the answers, but as I get older I realise I can't even begin to formulate the questions.’
      • ‘This was a report which, while by no means having all the answers, none the less contains some good information and unanimous cross-party recommendations.’
      • ‘It doesn't set itself up as having all the answers, but is a constructive suggestion; a start.’
      • ‘I have fears and insecurities, and I won't ever have all the answers.’
      • ‘Once again, badly in need of a world view, senior management turned to the neocons - who again seemed to have all the answers.’
      • ‘The Western world doesn't have all the answers.’
    in answer to
    • As a response to or as a result of.

      ‘in answer to the stresses on modern woman, we have developed a range of beauty treatments’
      • ‘Her head raised in answer to what I thought had been my silence but I had apparently spoken her name.’
      • ‘For the millennium, Caroline launched a new collection called Studio, in answer to a call for more extravagant clothing.’
      • ‘Early illnesses, often erupting as if in answer to some other crisis, kept him out of school for years, and in the company of pious nannies.’
      • ‘He will be asked to utilise the pace of Michael Owen in answer to the ferocious, explosive bursts for which Argentina are renowned.’
      • ‘As if in answer to her thought she heard low mocking male laughter in her ear.’
      • ‘He launched his Back to Basics campaign in answer to the increasing tide of scandal which was damaging his government.’
      • ‘As if in answer to her request, a pair of arms wrapped around her, holding her tight to a chest.’
      • ‘This futile exercise is in answer to the Burnley riots and will only force integration, which will breed contempt.’
      • ‘Amanda Fisk, director of operations at the trust, said the move was in answer to financial difficulties.’
      • ‘Your Honour, I believe I have said what I can say in answer to the application.’

Phrasal Verbs

    answer back
    • also answer someone backRespond cheekily or disrespectfully to someone, especially when being criticized or told to do something.

      ‘you couldn't argue with a parent, you couldn't answer back’
      • ‘Mary resisted the temptation to answer her mother back’
    answer for
    • answer for somethingBe responsible or to blame for something.

      ‘if you persist I will not answer for the consequences’
      • ‘the dust mite has a lot to answer for, especially if you are asthmatic’
      • ‘If rules of behaviour are flouted, those responsible must answer for their actions.’
      • ‘I guess the lesson here is that if you really have integrity, and your opinion is truly your own, and you aren't trying to front or pander, then you wouldn't try to ditch the responsibility of answering for it later.’
      • ‘Society has a lot to answer for, we all have a responsibility to children.’
      • ‘The family have been at their wits' end trying to ensure somebody answers for this.’
      • ‘And Europe, too, is plainly better off with Milosevic answering for his crimes, instead of committing more.’
      • ‘And people then say, you should have answered for this.’
    answer to
    • 1answer to someoneBe required to explain or justify oneself to someone.

      ‘if I don't make this deadline, I will have the boss to answer to’
      • ‘But the new leadership is based on choice, answering to nothing other than its own justification.’
      • ‘I'm happy to say that I answer to you and not to the media.’
      • ‘A pastor doesn’t look to do the easy or popular thing, for he answers to God alone for his decisions and actions.’
    • 2answer to someoneBe responsible or report to someone.

      ‘I answer to the assistant commissioner’
      • ‘I answer to the Chief of the Defence Staff and the Secretary of State.’
      • ‘He answers to the attorney general, the panel of judges and ultimately the president.’
      • ‘He answers directly to the vice president of operations or the general manager.’
      • ‘Elected officials, denying with straight faces that they are bigots or denying that they are answering to bigots, choose brazenly bigoted and insulting comments in justifying the repulsion.’


Old English andswaru (noun), andswarian (verb), of Germanic origin; from a base shared by swear.